Dentists warn against using charcoal for teeth whitening

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Dentists warn against charcoal to whiten teeth
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Dentists warn against charcoal to whiten teeth.

Activated charcoal has been around for hundreds of years and is currently a huge trend in superfood and beauty rituals. It is a porous, harsh substance of carbon which has high absorbing properties.

You can find people using charcoal in everything from smoothies, juices, face masks, and teeth whitening to absorb impurities.

"It's a detoxifier, a natural detoxifier you can use in almost everything," explained Raleigh Raw Staff Educator Kunal Patel.

"One thing you have to remember is it dehydrates you," Patel said. "Because you take such a porous thing and soak up everything.

So, we always tell everyone when they drink a juice or use activated charcoal to follow it up with water-it's great but don't overuse it. It's not something you want to use every day," Patel said.

Doctors also warn charcoal as a supplement for detox can also remove medications. So, consumers should check with a doctor before adding it to their diet.

Dentists are warning that the abrasiveness of charcoal can harm enamel long-term.

In a face mask, it can absorb oil in your pores, and many beauty bloggers are touting it as a quick and natural teeth whitening remedy.

But, dentists have a warning about the charcoal craze.

"My concern with it is because of the fact that it's so abrasive, we don't have any long-term studies as to its long-term effects as to not only on the enamel but also the gum tissue and also absorption over time," explained Dr. Anna Abernethy, Partner of Renaissance Dental in Raleigh.

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The September 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association shows no evidence that dental products with charcoal are safe or effective for your teeth.

Dentists also warn using abrasive materials on teeth can make them look more yellow after enamel is worn away.

The ADA recommends using a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance for safer and effective options.

The ADA on natural teeth whitening

Fruits: Fruit and vinegar contain acid, and prolong contact with teeth can wear away your enamel.

Scrubs: Using materials that are too abrasive on your teeth can actually make them look more yellow.

Spices and oils: There is no reliable scientific evidence to show oil pulling or turmeric whitens teeth.